Diana and Gregory at 70
Saturday 12 May 2018
Opening concert by The LFCCM Festival Singers, with music by Diana Burrell and Gregory Rose
St Pancras Parish Church
London NW1 2BA
£12 / £10: book online
The LFCCM Festival Singers
Christopher Batchelor Director
Douglas Tang Organ
Matthew Schellhorn Piano
Pentecost Diana Burrell
Missa Brevis Diana Burrell
Requiem Gregory Rose
Hymn to Aphrodite Gregory Rose
Pre-concert talk at 7pm
This year’s Festival opens with a programme of new music by two of Britain’s most celebrated contemporary composers. The Festival’s own professional vocal ensemble, The LFCCM Festival Singers, presents premiere performances of sacred music and instrumental works by Diana Burrell and Gregory Rose, including the first performance of Pentecost, a major new work for solo piano.
Born in Norwich in 1948, Diana Burrell followed studies at Cambridge University with several years as a teacher and worked as a professional viola player, before devoting herself to composition. She found an early champion in the conductor Richard Hickox; he premiered her huge Missa Sancte Endeliente (1980), and this was followed by a number of significant pieces inspired by her love of the natural world: the orchestral works Landscape (1988), Resurrection (1992), Symphonies of Flocks, Herds and Shoals (1995-6), the string quartets Gulls & Angels (1993) and Earth (1998), and her opera The Albatross (1987).
Diana Burrell’s interest in music education and music in the community has been reflected in both her teaching at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, her highly successful tenures as Artistic Director of both the Spitalfields and Harwich Arts Festivals and the creation of works especially for young/amateur performers including Scenes with Birds (1989) and Anima (1993). Her catalogue includes a great deal of choral music, both sacred and secular, that ranges from works for the Three Choirs Festival (Come Holy Ghost, our Souls Inspire in 1983) and King’s College, Cambridge, Festival of Carols (Christo Paremus Cantica in 1993), to pieces for more modest forces such as Michael’s Mass (1997), a congregational setting for unison voices, and Lights and Shadows (1989) for unison choir, SATB chorus and an orchestra that includes recorders and percussion as well as low strings and brass.
Central to her output are a series of Concertos, beginning with a work for her own instrument, the Viola Concerto (1994), followed by the Clarinet Concerto (1996), the Flute Concerto (1997), the more unconventional Concerto for Violin, with Singer & Three Ensembles (2009), and culminating in Concerto for Brass and Orchestra (2016), commissioned for the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
More recent works include The Hours (2010-11), a striking cycle of eight works for solo organ (or related instruments such as accordion and harmonium) and differing ensembles, structured around the ancient liturgical hours of the church; Blaze (2013), a BBC Proms commission for the Norwegian brass ensemble tenThing; Sing, Friends, sing to the honour of the Lord (2014) for Opus Anglicanum; and Wo soll ich fliehen hin (2015), a contribution to William Whitehead’s ‘Orgelbuchlein’ project. Last year saw the premiere of the Concerto for Brass & Orchestra, and the first performances of Missa Brevis, commissioned by Brentwood Cathedral.
Gregory Rose’s compositions comprise works for orchestra, instrumental ensemble and choir, including many liturgical pieces. His Missa Sancta Pauli Apostoli won one of the 2006 British Composer Awards and his music-theatre piece Danse macabre, released on Toccata Classics, was described as “… an absorbing musical masterpiece.” Gregory’s compositions include 18 masses, two of which are for handbells, five settings of the Evening Canticles, nine song-cycles and many ensemble pieces. Recent premieres include Bird Songs for Loré and Five Schwitters Songs (solo voice); Ave Maria II, Quelques gouttes d’eau sur une surface (marimba), Music for a Kytherian Amphitheatre (piano), Violin Concerto, and the United Kingdom premieres of Stabat Mater (choir and tubular bells), Suite pour cordes, Aphrodite and Adonis (soprano and marimba) and Clarifica me Pater. A CD of selected choral works has recently been released on Toccata Classics, with Gregory conducting the Latvian Radio Choir.
Gregory has conducted orchestras, ensembles and choirs throughout Eastern and Western Europe and the Far East, particularly in romantic and contemporary repertoires. Orchestras include his own Jupiter Orchestra & Singers, CoMA London Ensemble, and the amplified vocal ensemble Singcircle, with whom he directed many performances of Stockhausen’s Stimmung. He has conducted many operas and has worked closely with composers such as Stockhausen, Cage, Reich, Stephen Montague and Christian Wolff, and has appeared in festivals throughout Europe, including two BBC Promenade concerts with Singcircle. He has conducted more than a thousand premieres. In 2012 he collaborated in the premiere recording of John Cage’s iconic Song Books on Sub Rosa, which sold out its first pressing. He has arranged and conducted for Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt, and Madness. He is a staff conductor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and an enthusiastic church bell-ringer in the English ‘change ringing’ tradition.